Published: 18:51, April 14, 2020 | Updated: 04:46, June 6, 2023
HK urged to enact national security law
By Gu Mengyan

HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s political heavyweights urged the special administrative region government on Tuesday to put national security law legislation on the agenda, to plug legal loopholes and minimize the threats to public safety illustrated in the protracted civil unrest last year.

In remarks ahead of the fifth National Security Education Day, which is marked on Wednesday, the figures stressed maintaining national security is also the SAR’s constitutional obligation, and in line with Hong Kong people’s fundamental interests.

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“Hong Kong is by no means exempt from its duty to safeguard national safety as any other place in China does,” said former lawmaker Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.

Hong Kong is by no means exempt from its duty to safeguard national safety as any other place in China does

 Tam Yiu-chung, member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

As required in Article 23 of the Basic Law, the city’s constitutional document, Hong Kong shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in Hong Kong, and to prohibit local political groups from establishing ties with foreign political groups.

The Macao SAR enacted its national security law in 2009. The Hong Kong government submitted a related bill to the city’s Legislative Council in Febuary 2003, but withdrew it in September the same year. Since then, national security legislation in the city has been put on hold.

Tam said some local political groups purposely misinterpreted the security law legislation as a deprivation of individual rights and freedom, which has impeded Hong Kong’s development.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, a member of Basic Law Committee under the NPCSC, said the city has seen “dangerous signals” in recent years challenging “one country, two systems”. They include since-ousted lawmakers expressing separatism advocacy when taking their oaths; the founding of groups advocating separatism; and foreign organizations and individuals publicly supporting the groups’ activities.

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She stressed that no force can change the fact that Hong Kong will continue to develop under the framework of “one country, two systems”. Enacting the national security law in Hong Kong could effectively safeguard national security and territory integrity, she added.

Lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, also a member of the Basic Law Committee, said some local politicians who attempted to damage national interests should be stopped by legislation under the framework of the Constitution and the Basic Law.

Cheung Ka-min, a former member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said the misinterpretation of the Basic Law is a major contributor to social unrest in the city, fueled by local opposition forces and foreign forces intended to together suppress the rise of China.